Commit five turnovers against Kenmore West and you are baked.
The Blue Devils kept taking the ball away from Jamestown Saturday afternoon before about 500 fans at soggy Crosby Field and scored an easy 27-0 victory in the quarterfinals of the Section VI Class AA playoffs.
"You have to hang on to the ball," said West coach Richard Harris, whose 10th-ranked large-school team will hit the road to face No. 1 Orchard Park Friday night. "We talk about it all season and it becomes even bigger in the playoffs. It's just such a big momentum builder when you either pick off a ball or pick up fumbles."
Junior Warren Hemphill had two interceptions and his teammates recovered three fumbles as the Red Raiders kept making mistakes.
"We went over it all day in warm-ups, making sure people had two hands on the ball," said Hemphill, who carried five times for 38 yards, returned two kicks for 27 yards and punted twice for a 28-yard average into a strong wind. "We wanted no fumbles, no turnovers. We forced them with hard hits. First person wrapped up, the second in delivered a blow."
Quarterback Damour Bailey was nearly flawless on both sides of the ball. He carried 17 times for 159 yards and two touchdowns, threw a 5-yard scoring pass to captain Scott Grandits, caused one fumble and held Jamestown's Jaron Pollino to a single catch.
"When [Harris] said 'lock down No. 80' [Pollino], that's all I worked on in practice," said Bailey, whose team improved to 6-2. "I stayed with him and the outcome was a lot of fun."
Bailey wasn't as easy to contain.
He scored on a 64-yard run on the final play of the third quarter to put his team up, 21-0. He faked a pitch, broke toward the left sideline and motored untouched into the end zone.
He opened the scoring with a 27-yard bolt up the middle midway through the first quarter after the Red Raiders had lost their first fumble fielding a West punt, then committed a personal foul to tack on 15 yards.
"We made a couple errors and they really took advantage of our mistakes," said Jamestown coach Tom Langworthy. "That was really a key for us. The mistakes bit us and against a good team you just can't do that."
Any chance of a comeback died early in the fourth quarter when defensive back Zach Bouley recovered a fumble at the Jamestown 10, two plays before the scoring pass. Linebackers Robert Ertel and Ryan Meldrum had earlier fumble recoveries.
"Our quarterback played well and our line did what they had to do when it came down to it," said West's Tim Hersey, who carried 12 times for 66 yards and a score. "In the second half we played some physical football so we knew we had a good chance. We usually play a four-man line and we switched to a five-man front and just knew what they were going to do."
Jamestown (4-4), outgained 328 yards to 191, was hindered when starting quarterback Ben Cecchini was forced to leave midway through the second quarter with an injury.
"Our offense became one-dimensional with this wind and the injury to Ben," said Langworthy, whose team next faces Niagara-Wheatfield in a consolation bowl. "Even though we drove the ball we couldn't put it in."